For the best part of a decade since the founding of the English Premier League, Arsenal were the main competitors for Manchester United in the pursuit of league glory.

Four wins and five final appearances from 1998 to 2005 in the FA Cup underlined the Gunners' dominance in the world's oldest cup competition.

Champions League and League Cup glory continued to elude Arsene Wenger's team, but they did make the final of each competition on one occasion apiece, albeit having lost both finals.

Since then, Wenger had to watch as London rivals Chelsea became the biggest threat to United's title chances. While more recently, the title race has been a straight fight between the two Manchester clubs.

To rub salt into Wenger's wounds, Tottenham and other smaller teams like Portsmouth, Birmingham and Swansea have added shine to their trophy cabinets. Not to mention the dozens of medals Wenger's former protégés have won themselves at their respective new teams.

Here we look at the reasons behind Arsene Wenger's fall from grace. 

1. Obsession with youth

It is not known why Wenger places so much faith in his youth policy, opting to buy promising youngsters rather than signing the complete articles.

Does he want to prove to the world that Sir Alex Ferguson is not the only one who can win trophies with kids?

Wenger's youth policy has worked well in the past, which saw him unearth talents such as Nicolas Anelka, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas and Ashley Cole and turn them into truly world-class stars.

However, other youngsters such as Nicklas Bendtner, Aaron Ramsey and Carlos Vela have had varying degrees of success.

It is worth noting that the last time Arsenal won the league in 2004 with an unbeaten record, Ashley Cole and Kolo Toure were the youngest regular starters at 23. 

Other key players like Henry, Vieira, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg and Gilberto Silva were between the range of 27 to 30 years old.

It is not that it's a bad thing to invest in young talents, but if Wenger expects instant impact from his young guns like what he got from Henry and Co, then he must be asking too much from them.

As we saw from the example of Robin van Persie and Cristiano Ronaldo, a player needs a few good years to settle and develop into a star. For a club of Arsenal's stature, they simply do not have the time to wait for a whole team of youngsters to develop.

Arsenal has been like a breeding ground for promising youngsters to learn their trade. Worse of all, when they are the finished articles, they leave in search for success.

2. Wenger's reluctance to spend big

Why is it that Wenger has been stubborn to splash big on players? While you have to admire and credit him for not throwing silly amounts of money on players which has been a common scene in today's football, you cannot deny that money has to be spent if Arsenal are to challenge for honours.

Manchester United have been spending big over the years, having spent almost £30 million each on the likes of Juan Sebastian Veron, Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov.

The success of Chelsea and Manchester City has also been built on the money bankrolled by billionaire owners.

You might not get a £30 million-rated player if you are paying £30 million. But if you are paying £5 million on a player, then certainly you are not going to get a £30 million-rated player.

Arsenal are already behind rivals United, City and Chelsea in terms of squad depth and quality. The daunting thing is that their rivals continue to spend every summer. 

3. Arsenal's inability to keep hold of their stars or attract top class players

Arsenal fail to win a trophy; their top players want to leave; they fail to attract big-name signings and Arsenal fail to win a trophy - the cycle continues.

It is inevitable that star names from any big teams could move on at any stage of their careers. But have Arsenal replaced the likes of Henry, Vieira and Cole?

Not wishing to break the club's wage structure, Arsenal had to let Cole join Chelsea.

Other members of the 'Invincibles' gradually left Arsenal, either due to age or other factors.

Arsene Wenger continued to breed brilliant individuals into the Arsenal team, but he could not build a brilliant team.

The new batch of superstars like Matthieu Flamini, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie eventually left the team because they could not see a future at the club.

If Arsenal's trophy drought continues for another few seasons, will Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain reconsider their options and look to greener pastures?


DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

 

Topics:
#Arsenal
#Football
#Premier League